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Global Issues Students Take the Challenge

Emanne Khan '19
Global Issues Students Find Success in 2018 UNH Social Venture Innovation Challenge
What happens when you apply technology and entrepreneurship to pressing worldwide problems? The eleven seniors in Ms. DiTullio’s fall elective “Global Issues: Sustainable Development” considered this very question as they launched their studies with an introduction to the United Nations’ 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, going on to consider the flaws in the foreign aid system and whether or not the world has made progress since 1990.

The UN’s 17 Goals, ranging from “No Poverty” to “Climate Action,” provided an overview of the modern issues that multinational organizations deem most urgent. Equipped with this knowledge, all members of the class entered the University of New Hampshire’s 2018 Social Venture Innovation Challenge, which Derryfield has participated in for the past several years. The challenge urged participants to “identify pressing social and/or environmental issues at the state, national or global level, and then find an innovative business-oriented approach to solving them.”

The Global Issues students split into three teams based on the issues that they identified as important: human trafficking, mental health and suicide, and refugee displacement. Throughout October, their ideas began to take shape under the guidance of Ms. DiTullio as they crafted short videos and presentations to pitch their solutions to the panel of judges. As this was her first year teaching the course, originally conceptualized by Mr. Powell, Ms. DiTullio remarks that “the curriculum he designed gives students about a month of class time--a serious commitment!--to work on their projects. Rather than being content-focused, this course is focused on students "learning by doing," and the result is something powerful!”

Out of a field of over 90 statewide teams, “Growing Hope,” consisting of Abby Wilding, Emanne Khan, and Sally Mullins, was selected as one of eight finalists in the community track, with their design of portable peanut gardening boxes to assist South Sudanese refugees in Uganda. As the only high school team present at the community track finals, which took place at UNH on November 29, the three students powered through their presentation and Q&A with the judges to earn third place! They plan to donate their cash prize of $2,500 to a New Hampshire organization currently working with refugees in Uganda.

Ultimately, all who participated gained valuable skills as they integrated business and market research and design with an area of social need. All three Derryfield teams headed to the finals of the high school track on December 13, earning second and third place positions. We look forward to seeing how they implement their newfound entrepreneurship in their future endeavors.
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